Little League All-Star play saw its first pitch on Saturday, June 18, with 8-10 year-old baseball and softball competition at the Federal Way National Little League Complex.
On the baseball side of things, both Federal Way-based leagues — Steel Lake Little League and Federal Way National Little League — started off differently, but they converged for a showdown on June 22.
Steel Lake began its play with a 16-6 win over Auburn Little League behind the consistent bat of Kyler Herwick. Herwick went 4 for 4 for the game, with three runs batted in and another three runs scored to match. The win over Auburn set the stage for a matchup with perennial powerhouse Kent Little League – Steel Lake went down 7-1 early in the contest, clawed back to 7-5 by the fifth inning and ultimately lost 10-5.
Federal Way National lost its initial contest to Soundview Little League by a score of 10-4. In a double-elimination format, the team was forced to play with their backs against the wall for the remainder of the tournament. The squad responded with two straight wins over Fife-Milton-Edgewood, 14-3, and South Hill Little League, 8-3. Matt Blackmon provided much of the offensive spark in both games, hitting a home run and two doubles against FME, along with a go-ahead RBI double against South Hill that gave National the lead for good. Both games also featured unflappable pitching performances: Jake Gleason shut down FME over four-plus innings of work, and Lucas Koenig matched it with four-plus innings of his own. Gleason struck out four and Koenig struck out six while not surrendering an earned run.
The loss from Steel Lake and the two wins from Federal Way National set the aforementioned stage for the two Federal Way Little Leagues to square off in the bottom half of the bracket on Wednesday night. Steel Lake came away victorious 8-4.
It was all Steel Lake early on as pitcher Luke Evenson cruised through nearly three innings of perfect baseball. The offense was no slouch either, providing eight runs through three innings to make it 8-0 Steel Lake. Freddy Frias led the way with three hits, with Kaden Cretti adding two hits and matched it with two runs scored. Federal Way National roared back in the fifth and sixth innings, notching four unanswered runs — but it was not enough to catch Steel Lake.
Steel Lake played Soundview today, June 23, with another shot at Kent on the line should they advance.
On the softball side of things, Federal Way National’s All-Star team was quickly bounced from the tournament after two games against Bonney Lake Sumner, 13-1, and Chinook Little League, 14-4. Steel Lake paired up with Kent’s Little League and together they’ve formed a juggernaut that has steamrolled through the tournament. The “Bat Busters,” as they like to be called, have rolled to wins over South Hill, 8-1, and BLS, 19-9. The team hopes to continue its roll, and win a championship, with another matchup with BLS on June 23.
Junior league softball (over the age of 12) All-Stars have also seen action, with Steel Lake joining forces with Auburn and Soundview. This conglomerate rivals the 9- and 10-year-olds of Steel Lake and Kent in terms of dominance, posting an 18-1 win over South Hill and and an 18-7 win over BLS — including a grand slam from Charity Sevaaetasi against South Hill. The team, still without a loss, will play for the championship at 6 p.m. on June 27 at the South County Ballfields.
It’ll be another weekend full of baseball at the National complex with the tournaments for 10-11 baseball and softball starting up Saturday, June 25. Steel Lake and Federal Way National baseball teams both play Saturday at 9 a.m. — Steel Lake against BLS and Federal Way National paired up with South Hill. Steel Lake softball isn’t featured in the 10-11 tournament, but Federal Way National’s team matches up against South Hill at noon on Saturday.
Federal Way National and Steel Lake will come together in 11-12 year-old softball, along with Fife-Milton-Edgewood, with their first game at 6 p.m. on June 23 against Auburn and BLS.